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DOWE: CROWN BAY A NO-GO WITHOUT SENATE OK

Dec. 7, 2001 – Sen. Carlton Dowe says the agreement between the Port Authority and two cruise lines to develop a shopping complex at Crown Bay can't go forward without the Legislature's approval of Coastal Zone Management permits — and that he is "absolutely against" the project.
Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd said at a Senate meeting Thursday that he would ask "the appropriate committee" to schedule an oversight hearing on the project.
VIPA, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Carnival Corp. have signed a letter of intent calling for the cruise companies to lengthen the Crown Bay dock and build and operate an adjacent shopping center. No one has objected to the dock expansion, but the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, several Charlotte Amalie retailers and property owners, and Edward E. Thomas, chief executive officer of The West Indian Co., oppose the shopping center, saying it could have a disastrous effect on downtown and Havensight shopping.
In a letter to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, Dowe said that while he supports development in the Crown Bay area, the planned project "will negatively impact the WICO operations and, ultimately, the Government Employees Retirement System and turn over the second-most-important dock on St. Thomas to the cruise industry."
GERS owns the Havensight Mall adjacent to the West Indian Co. dock at the eastern side of the St. Thomas harbor. The agreement with the Port Authority calls for giving the two cruise lines priority berthing space at the Crown Bay dock at the western side. It is widely regarded as essential that the Crown Bay dock be expanded because the WICO dock can accommodate only three large cruise vessels, with more such megaships coming on line every year.
Citing Danish West Indian Co. control of the WICO dock up until 1993, when the government bought the property, Dowe said, "We must never go back to the day when outsiders are … in control of our docks."
Dowe told Turnbull, "I will vigorously oppose any CZM permit submitted by VIPA and the cruise lines to effectuate this agreement."
As an alternative to allowing the cruise lines to control the Crown Bay dock and shopping center, Dowe suggested a plan similar to one advanced by Chamber of Commerce president John de Jongh Jr. Saying that "interest rates are at an all-time low," Dowe suggested the Port Authority issue bonds using dock fees as collateral and partner with WICO in a joint venture on the Crown Bay project, rather than competing with WICO.
At a Wednesday Rotary II luncheon, VIPA executive director Gordon Finch said VIPA is not going to back down on the agreement with the cruise lines. "You are not going to change my mind," he told the Rotarians. "I have marching orders from my board, and VIPA intends to develop Crown Bay."
Turnbull has not made his views on the development public. Five of the six sitting members of the Port Authority board are members of the governor's cabinet.

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Dec. 7, 2001 - Sen. Carlton Dowe says the agreement between the Port Authority and two cruise lines to develop a shopping complex at Crown Bay can't go forward without the Legislature's approval of Coastal Zone Management permits -- and that he is "absolutely against" the project.
Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd said at a Senate meeting Thursday that he would ask "the appropriate committee" to schedule an oversight hearing on the project.
VIPA, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Carnival Corp. have signed a letter of intent calling for the cruise companies to lengthen the Crown Bay dock and build and operate an adjacent shopping center. No one has objected to the dock expansion, but the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, several Charlotte Amalie retailers and property owners, and Edward E. Thomas, chief executive officer of The West Indian Co., oppose the shopping center, saying it could have a disastrous effect on downtown and Havensight shopping.
In a letter to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, Dowe said that while he supports development in the Crown Bay area, the planned project "will negatively impact the WICO operations and, ultimately, the Government Employees Retirement System and turn over the second-most-important dock on St. Thomas to the cruise industry."
GERS owns the Havensight Mall adjacent to the West Indian Co. dock at the eastern side of the St. Thomas harbor. The agreement with the Port Authority calls for giving the two cruise lines priority berthing space at the Crown Bay dock at the western side. It is widely regarded as essential that the Crown Bay dock be expanded because the WICO dock can accommodate only three large cruise vessels, with more such megaships coming on line every year.
Citing Danish West Indian Co. control of the WICO dock up until 1993, when the government bought the property, Dowe said, "We must never go back to the day when outsiders are ... in control of our docks."
Dowe told Turnbull, "I will vigorously oppose any CZM permit submitted by VIPA and the cruise lines to effectuate this agreement."
As an alternative to allowing the cruise lines to control the Crown Bay dock and shopping center, Dowe suggested a plan similar to one advanced by Chamber of Commerce president John de Jongh Jr. Saying that "interest rates are at an all-time low," Dowe suggested the Port Authority issue bonds using dock fees as collateral and partner with WICO in a joint venture on the Crown Bay project, rather than competing with WICO.
At a Wednesday Rotary II luncheon, VIPA executive director Gordon Finch said VIPA is not going to back down on the agreement with the cruise lines. "You are not going to change my mind," he told the Rotarians. "I have marching orders from my board, and VIPA intends to develop Crown Bay."
Turnbull has not made his views on the development public. Five of the six sitting members of the Port Authority board are members of the governor's cabinet.